Porsche announced today that it is hanging up its laurels and is terminating its factory support in the GT Le Mans class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the end of the 2020 season. Porsche cited the financial crisis surrounding the coronavirus pandemic as its reason.
“The decision to halt our factory involvement in the IMSA series was not an easy one for us,” says head of Porsche Motorsport Fritz Enzinger. “With a view to the current corporate situation in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, it is only logical for Porsche Motorsport to make a contribution to coping with the economic fallout.”
The move sets the stage for the possibility of just two manufacturers remaining in the GT Le Mans Class in 2021, depending on whether BMW decides to continue with its M8 GTE program alongside the factory Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs.
Porsche’s parting from GTLM will not affect any of its customer programs in North America, including teams in the GT Daytona class, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, and the single-make Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada series.
Launched in 2014, Porsche teamed up with the CORE autosport to run its operation and took the checkered flag in its debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Since then, the Porsche team campaigned by CORE autosport has won multiple races and GTLM titles, including:
- 48 GTLM Podiums
- 17 GTLM Poles
- 18 GTLM Wins (including four overall wins)
- 3 GTLM Manufacturers Championships
- 2 GTLM Team Champion Championships
- 2 GTLM Drivers Championships
- 2 North American Endurance Championship Team Titles
- 2 North American Endurance Championship Driver Titles
- 1 North American Endurance Championship Manufacturer Title
- 1 podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
“This has been an amazing seven-year partnership,” says CORE autosport COO Morgan Brady. “I’m extremely proud of everything we’ve accomplished. While we continue to prepare for the remaining 10 rounds of the IMSA Championship, we’re sensitive to how this departure will affect our team members and their families.”
While not confirmed, Porsche’s move to cease operations for its GTLM program could potentially set the stage for an effort in the Le Mans Daytona hypercar (LMDh) class for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2022. Running two parallel factory-supported programs in LDMh and GTLM/GTE would be a huge financial commitment, even for a juggernaut such as Porsche.
As the season stands thus far, CORE autosport and Porsche are in second place. The series is set to resume July 4–5 at Daytona International Raceway. Porsche’s sights are set on winning back-to-back IMSA championships, which would be a fitting end to a tremendously successful run of seven years of racing.